Emdad Rahman interviews founder Sue Hitchen
The Foodies Festival began at the Roxburgh Hotel in Edinburgh. It attracted so many positive reviews that it was moved to the Sheraton and subsequently to Holyrood Park. The show has continued to grow.
Now the Foodies Festival has made it to the old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane and I, along with thousands of others, popped along to see what the fuss was all about. The festival was spread over various floors of the old Brewery and hosted traders, stalls, chefs and all manners of groups and individuals involved in the British food industry market. The festive feast was the first-ever Foodies Festival Christmas.
Sue Hitchen is the organiser of the Foodies Festival. Hitchen has for many years been a foodie herself. She has an astute knack of recognising food and culinary trends and encourages the best of British to showcase their wares at the Foodies Festivals. She said: “We wanted to set up a winter festival serving winter food in London so we set up here with local chefs, local producers, local cake and bake bakers, and they’ve all been talking about winter produce, foraging and the favourite foods we eat this season.”
The Foodies Festivals delivers nine events over the summer months. “We do nine festivals over the summer,” said Hitchen. “We realised that we wanted to also do a series of festivals over the winter and so this is the first of the winter ones. We are going to take this idea to Manchester, Edinburgh and other cities. At the moment we only arrange festivals for the summer and winter because we need time during the other months to organise these events. We do have plans to go international so that would be interesting.”
The Foodies Festival in Brick Lane welcomed an array of celebrities and experts from the British culinary scene. Hitchen added: “On the chef’s theatre stage we have head chef Adam Handling (Master Chef The Professionals 2013 Finalist) who did a winter dish with lobster and Glen Cosby, who is the Great British Bake off winner. He has been cooking in a Chef’s theatre but also been active in the cake and bake too.”
Hitchen spoke highly of Daisy Brydon, who three days ago built a Truman Brewery chimney. “She spent 50 hours building that chimney out of gingerbread and she’s also been baking in the cake and bake theatre.”
The Foodies Festival also featured an outdoor Street Food Courtyard and served up some of London’s best street food including Up in my Grill, Gaddens Scotch Eggs, Big Apple Hot Dogs, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Exotic Tagine; which festival-goers tucked into at the neighbouring Feasting Tent.